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Roger Clapp

The first man bearing the surname Clapp to enter the colonies was Roger Clapp. Roger was born on 6 April 1609 in Salcombe Regis, Devonshire, England. Roger sailed from on the ship "John and Mary" in 1629 and landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. According to his own account in his memoirs, they arrived in Plymouth after the harvest. In March of 1630 he left Plymouth for Nantasket, Massachusetts. Roger was a Puritan and was deeply religious. A short time before his immigration he received the permission of his father to go to the city of Exon, England to be under the ministry of Reverend John Warham. Reverend Warham was on the same ship sailing from England as Roger Clapp. Also on this ship was Joanna Ford and her father Thomas Ford. All the passengers on this ship went to Dorchester, Massachusetts where they arrived in June of 1630.

Joanna Ford Clapp

Joanna Ford was born on June 8, 1617 in Dorchester, England. She was the daughter of Thomas Ford and Elizabeth Charde. Joanna had at least 3 sisters. Abigail who married John Strong, Mary who married Captain John Cook, and Hepzibah. Roger Clapp and Joanna Ford were married on November 6, 1633 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Joanna Ford Clapp died on 2 February 1690.

Life In New England

Roger Clapp was a Captain in the militia and chosen as a selectman fourteen times. He was chosen to represent Dorchester as Deputy of the court which brought him to Boston. In 1635 while Roger and his wife Joanna Ford remained in Dorchester for a period of time, her father Thomas Ford moved to Windsor, Connecticut along with a sizable portion of Dorchester residents. At that time Windsor had a huge land mass and later would be divided into other towns. The Clapps had 14 children during their marriage and most of them lived to have families of their own.

Life in Boston

Roger Clapp (also spelled Clap) did many things, however, his real career was that of a Captain in the Military of Massachusetts. Located in what is now South Boston on the shore of Boston Harbor was Castle Island. Castle Island is the oldest military site in North America established in 1643. Captain Clapp was stationed there as Captain of the Dorchester Company. In August 1665 he was named Captain of "the castle", a post he held for 21 years. In September 1686 he left the castle having resigned, to a nine gun salute. He never left Boston and remained there until his death. Captain Roger Clapp died on 2 February 1690 in Boston.

Joanna and Roger are both buried in Boston, Massachusetts at King's Chapel Burying Grounds. Their headstones are still there in very good condition.

The Autobiography of Roger Clapp

Roger Clapp wrote a manuscript detailing his life for his children. It is the story of his life written in his own words. It was first published after his death, in 1731. Copies of this book, although rare, still exist. If you live in the Boston area NEHGS (New England Historical Genealogical Society) has a copy you can read and the Allen County Genealogy Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana also has a copy. Since the book is not covered by copyright laws due to it's age, I have excerpts up here.

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